• Kyodo

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The top executive of Western Digital said Tuesday that the U.S. company will build a flash memory production plant in central Japan.

“We continue to be very optimistic about the potential for our business here (in Japan) and will make further substantial investments in research and development and manufacturing capacity, including the construction of new fabs in Yokkaichi,” Chief Executive Officer Steve Milligan said in a statement.

Western Digital and Toshiba’s chip unit, Toshiba Memory, operate a joint chip production venture in the city of Yokkaichi, Mie Prefecture.

The comment comes as Western Digital is aiming to buy a stake in Toshiba Memory in a joint bid with the state-backed Innovation Network Corp. of Japan turnaround fund and the state-owned Development Bank of Japan.

Milligan is currently visiting Japan to hold talks with Toshiba President Satoshi Tsunakawa over the purchase of the stake.

The plan to set up a new plant could demonstrate to Toshiba Western Digital’s commitment to production in Japan.

U.S. investment fund Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., U.S. chip-maker Broadcom, and Hon Hai Precision Industry are among the bidders for a majority stake in the chip company.

Toshiba said last week it will seek to pick a bidder by June 28 when it holds a shareholders meeting.

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